SOJ chef demo

Good morning!

This past Saturday I got the chance to assist Chef Sam Baker at the South of the James Market. Lauren, the blogger over at Vegology, gave me the chance to be her substitute that day. Free food and education? Um, yes!

Chef Sam created four delicious dishes using lots of summery fruits and tomatoes. All the recipes were super quick and easy which I love. I wrote about my adventure over at her blog. Feel free to check it out! -> Guest Post! SOJ Chef Demo 07.28.12

I hope you have a lovely start to the week! Look out for a new recipe post on Wednesday.

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career change update

It’s been almost 6 months since I changed my job, my career, my mission. Well I guess I changed my mission when I started planning this blog last year but the complete conversion happened in February when I quit my old job as a designer.

So I started to not really like my last job at 6 months but at this new job, it’s a different story. I’m currently a Veterinary Assistant and I get to help animals all day long. It’s rewarding to say the least.

The doctors have already found homes for 14 kittens (from the Goochland Animal Shelter) this spring! There’s 2 more left if anybody wants one. 🙂

Don’t get me wrong, some days I get tired of washing windows, sweeping floors, and getting beat up by crabby cats BUT it’s all worth it. Like my blog title says, I get to ‘help someone or something in need’.

My little lady, Belle when she was sick with Pneumonia. She’s all better now!

This past Saturday I had to work. I spent 2.5 out of the 4 hour workday standing next to the operating table with a 17 year old cat in possible heart failure. I had to monitor her vitals while keeping the oxygen flowing at her face to help with her crazy rapid breathing. Along with the medical aspect, I also made sure she was as comfortable as she could be. I stroked her soft fur and let her know she wasn’t alone. She was too weak to move much but I could hear her purring away.

They planned on taking her to the emergency (24 hour) vet clinic once we closed at 12. I won’t know until I get to work today if she survived or not but I’m so glad I got to help and comfort her for those few hours.

That cat is just one of the many reasons I know that my leap of faith was a good one.

Oh and have you ever watched a knee surgery on a goat? Freakin’ awesome.

Are you at your ideal job?

P.S. My Etsy shop? I’ve moved the opening date to Labor Day weekend. I got a bit overwhelmed this month for sure!! I’ve got some good pieces done though! I can’t wait to get the shop open.

modernizing old lighting

Another bathroom update! I’m on a roll and picking up speed.

The tiling in the guest bathroom is a design challenge to say the least. For this primary upgrade I knew I wasn’t going to rip it out or paint over it so I needed a different color in the room to play off of the yellow.

Last weekend when I was reorganizing the vanity a thought popped into my head so I texted my sister. My question for her was, What color do you wear with your barf yellow tank top? Turquoise right? And by barf yellow I didn’t mean it in a negative way! It’s a great shirt and she knows this. Anyways, I had remembered that she wore an outfit with those colors a couple weeks earlier. Jewel tone outfits are the coolest and I love them. Like, totally stylin’.

Inspiration is a funny thing, isn’t it? Sometimes you go days without a creative solution for something and other days it just comes to you out of no where.

So a jewel tone bathroom is what I’m working at now.

I didn’t want to add in a ton of new color since the yellow takes up 50% of the room already so I first painted the walls a crisp white. The white walls seemed to help calm the tile down a bit.

Now all I needed were accents, accents to compliment the barf jewel tone yellow.

The original lighting (1 light over the vanity and 1 on the ceiling near the shower) had awesome character so I decided to update them and add my color there.

I started by wiping down the pieces, taping off any electrical, and sanding down the rough spots.

I also prepped the pretty switch plates. I wanted to spray paint them white so they’d blend in with the new, white walls.

I may have jumped in excitement when I started spray painting with the turquoise. Happy color! I was still a bit afraid that my idea wasn’t going to work out but at least the color was pretty, ha.

The ceiling light turned out quite lovely although I still need to paint the little gold screws. Can I just tell you that I first lost the original screws so I had to buy new ones that turned out to be the wrong size. I then took those back and finally got the correct kind only to have one of my screws from the other light fly out of my hand and fall down deep into the depths of the A/C vent… and I was on my last screw before the lighting was to be complete. I think I yelled out, ‘You kidding me?!’. I’ll have to take a 4th trip to Lowe’s to get yet another screw. Silly.

You can also see from the photo below that we still need to paint the ceiling and the trim. All those areas are supposed to be white but after 30 years they sure aren’t anymore!

Here’s the turquoise light above the sink.

The glass texture is awesome.

And here are the white switch plates.

Next up I’ve got some art decisions and a vanity to paint.

It’s official -> I love interior design.

Do you have tons of bathroom tile? How did you work with it?

organizing the guest bathroom

This month is crazy with a capital C!

I’ll be out of town next weekend, I’ve got family visiting around my birthday (the 22nd) which also happens to be the day that I want to open my Etsy shop full of fun paintings, AND the following weekend I’ll be subbing in for Lauren at the Farmer’s Market. Eek. These are all very exciting things to say the least but it’s a lot!

And now, on top of my 10 hour workdays at the Vet and creating/finishing paintings, I’ve decided that I want to get the guest bathroom updated for our guests.

I plead insanity.

Supposedly in the blogging world, you aren’t supposed to apologize for not writing so this is just a forewarning. My posts may be irregular in the next couple weeks and you’ll probably be seeing a little more DIY. I don’t think you’ll mind though, it’ll be fun!

On to the task at hand.

———-

Here’s what the bathroom looked like before we moved in. The only thing that was left when I started on the upgrade was a little bit of the wallpaper (my sister took down a lot of it a while back). The seller hauled off most of the decor items when he left and I donated the rest.

My plan is not to rip out everything and start for scratch but to work with what I’ve got. The (excuse my language) barf yellow tiling that engulfs the room is my main challenge but I’ve got some ideas up my sleeve. Let’s hope everything works out!!

First things first, organizing.

I had my makeup somewhat organized in this big, clunky set of drawers that sat on the counter while the drawers and cabinets in the vanity lacked order altogether.

To start, I pulled everything out and tossed what I didn’t use. Then I assessed the situation and measured the vanity drawers. I headed over to Target to find some baskets and organizers.

I found these great drawer organizers in the bathroom section at Target and some baskets to wrangle everything else under the sink. I didn’t want that plastic drawer eyesore on the counter anymore so I needed to make room down below.

And I did!

After downsizing I was able to fit both my hair and makeup items into the two vanity drawers.

Now in my official hair drawer, from back to front I’ve got: overflow of hair ties, nail polish (not hair related but oh well), current hair ties, decorative clips, bobby pins, functional clips, headbands, and finally my brush, comb, and big hair clip on the left.

As for the makeup drawer, from back to front I’ve got: extra chapstick, eyelash curlers, lip glosses, lipstick, tweezers, powder, blush, q-tips, concealers, eye shadows, brushes, eye liners, and makeup remover wipes on the left.

Under the sink the baskets hold, from left to right: frequently used products, hair styling items stacked above excess items like deodorant and toothbrushes, and cleaning products which sit behind a stack of toilet paper.

A little side note: I didn’t even realize that these baskets were stackable at the time! If you can see on the right, there’s a little plastic piece on the handles that can fold in to make them stack. Pretty sweet.

The counter is now clean. Our guests will have room to place their things!

Let’s recap:

  1. Take everything out of the space.
  2. Donate or trash whatever you don’t need or use.
  3. Measure and figure out what you need to organize.
  4. Buy organizers.
  5. Organize and pat yourself on the back.

I have often done steps 3 and 4 backwards which makes for an inefficient space!

I can tell you, I’ve made my mom and sister proud. These ladies love a good organizing/decluttering project. I understand that love because man does it feel good to have some order!

In the next bathroom posts you’ll see some wall, lighting, and vanity upgrades as well as a little bit more organizing and final decor touches.

I can’t wait to have a completed room!!

Are you super organized? I have a lot more to do in that department.

the mental side of training

Al and I have successfully completed one whole month of marathon training!!

I think I already knew this but the mental side of the training is by far the hardest part. I made it through two tough mental challenges this week.

I have a big fear of getting injured – of not being able to even start the race let alone finish it.

I’ve been recording my workouts and thoughts about each one in my training manual. After just four weeks I’ve figured out what I need to do to stay healthy and uninjured: SLEEP, eat, hydrate, stretch, foam roll, do yoga, and cross train. It’s a long list, but I’m trying to keep up with it.

This week life got in the way a couple times. There were multiple days of getting off of work after 7 which forced me to skip the yoga classes that I know help me with my IT bands and hips. I also had to work Saturday which is normally my cross training day.

Training and injury prevention is about structure but I’m also realizing that it’s about flexibility. Because I was unable to make it to yoga, I was too sore to run on Thursday so I ran on Friday instead. I doubled up on my workouts and moved my Saturday cross training to Friday as well since I had to work.

I ran nice and slow on the dreadmill treadmill and then I swam a good 1500 meters that really helped loosen up those tight running muscles.

I loooove a good plan but this week showed me that I can adapt when obstacles get in the way. Next week if I can’t make it to yoga again, I’m going to roll out my mat and do a session at home. I have plenty of classes to choose from in my iTunes library. No excuses!

I’ve got a fear of the distance itself.

26.2 miles is flippin’ far! Enough said.

Yesterday, we didn’t even run close to that but the mental challenge was ridiculous.

A couple of factors added to the fear. It was already hot and humid at 7 am when we started running and, well, I didn’t want to die in it. I was afraid of getting lost because the big running pack spreads out and I often end up running without many people in sight. Lastly, it was 7 miles and I hadn’t run that since March when the weather and course were totally different.

I started off super tired and feeling sorry for myself. My legs felt like lead. Everybody was passing me! I kept looking at my watch. I was running a 10:00 minute mile. I thought, Well either my watch isn’t working (because I planned on running ‘easy’ and was expecting a 11:30 pace to fight the challenge) or these people are going to pass out at the end!

By mile three I was still feeling pathetic and people were still passing me. I reminded myself that there was a water station at the halfway point so I’d be able to stop for a second and mentally regroup.

The 30 second break was just what I needed. I saw some of the people standing around that had passed me miles before. Their fast starts were getting to them. And the Powerade I drank was the best thing EVER! All I needed were some electrolytes and a confidence boost. I started running again and felt 100 times better.

The rest of the course was mostly in the shade which was nice. I stopped again at the second water station and kept on. I passed a couple more fast-starters while keeping my 10:00 minute pace. I couldn’t believe I was keeping that pace in the heat and for that distance! I thought, Maybe this training is working! Maybe I can actually stick to this pace at the marathon!

I was so shocked because our coaches have told us that our pace will start to slow when the distance increases. Obviously 7 miles isn’t far compared to what we will be doing in the months ahead so my pace might still decrease but I tried to run ‘slow’ on purpose and kept the pace up naturally. Sweet.

I heard the 6th beep (6th mile) from my Garmin and laughed out loud. I only had a mile left. I was so proud to go from almost bottoming out mentally in the beginning to feeling super tough in just an hour.

Even though you aren’t supposed to on the long runs, I sped up my pace because I could (!!). I felt like I could run a couple more miles without much trouble. Thank goodness because we’ll be running 8 miles next week!

I know there will be a lot more hurdles in the coming months and it’s going to be rough but I’ve got the tools to help me overcome them. Can I get a HECK YEAH?!

Yikes, that was intense. Excuse me while I come back down from my runner’s high.

Tell me about a mental hurdle you’ve overcome!